A love of poetry—of the poet’s life—infuses these essays and brings a glow to the theoretical and a bright flame to the...

AMERICAN ORIGINALITY

ESSAYS ON POETRY

A celebrated poet collects some recent essays on theory, craft, and other poets.

In her second essay collection, after Proofs and Theories (1994), Glück (English and Creative Writing/Yale Univ.; Faithful and Virtuous Night, 2014, etc.), who has won about every major poetry prize, delivers a generous variety of pieces. Some deal with the current state of American poetry; some are admiring assessments of her fellow poets (Emily Dickinson, Robert Pinsky, Stephen Dobyns, Dan Chiasson); and one group of 10 comprises introductions to first books by new poets, artists whose work Glück has evaluated for various writing contests. These pieces, unsurprisingly, are uniformly laudatory (“mastery of tone and diction”; “haunting, elusive, luminous”)—though, as the essays clearly reveal, the poets themselves are hardly uniform. These pieces also feature many quoted passages. Of course, the more heavily theoretical pieces will appeal primarily to Glück’s fellow poets and to the literati. The author observes, for example, that recent poetry “affords two main types of incomplete sentences: the aborted whole and the sentence with gaps. In each case, the nonexistent, the unspoken, becomes a focus; ideally, a whirling concentration of questions.” Near the end are more personal essays that deal with Glück’s childhood, her years in psychoanalysis, and her insights about the varying effects of happiness and despair on poets. She convincingly argues that happiness is the more beneficial, productive emotion, for it does not deny the writer access to the dark side. Another entertaining and revelatory piece explores the author’s childhood revenge fantasies and how, uniquely, they accelerated her journey into the world of poetry. And there are smiles (maybe even a guffaw or two) in some of her observations—e.g., that Rilke could be “oddly masturbatory.”

A love of poetry—of the poet’s life—infuses these essays and brings a glow to the theoretical and a bright flame to the personal.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-29955-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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